Weighing freshmen through orientation and into their first class is a choice. what are they going to major in?
In an ideal world, students would have a lot of time to figure out their direction. They tried a lot of courses, figured out what they were interested in, and put in the time to learn for the sake of learning. But we’ve never really lived up to that ideal.The crises of the past decade-plus — the first Great Recession, the current pandemic — have only put pressure on college undergraduates to make the “right choice.” was.
My advice is: It’s better to be successful in a major you like than to chase a bigger salary. And best of all, the data backs up my advice.
I’m worried about how this data will be used To accelerate
– long tendency
of cash flow
, the message is misinterpreted not only by students and parents, but also by politicians and university presidents. is higher than But even with a focus on money, which makes sense given the costs involved, we need to be more explicit about how we’re counting those earnings.
there is Hierarchy of Majors
When assessing the lifetime earnings potential of the strongest students.of Federal Reserve Data
For example, while it’s clear that engineers earn more than others, their research also shows that a quarter of all engineers regret their major. (Is it fair to assume that many of his 20-year-olds are having trouble making plans for the rest of their lives?)
But here’s the problem I see again and again. Too many undergraduates choose majors they think will lead to good jobs instead of what actually interests them. As a result, they struggle. they get bad grades. they are not happy Dig into the Federal Reserve data and you’ll see it’s the wrong financial decision.
This is what I call the 75/25 problem. Please let me explain.
From a financial standpoint, being in the 75th percentile of a “low expected return” measure is much better than being in the 25th percentile of a high one. For example, according to an analysis of a Fed survey, washington post
, adjusted for 2016 dollars for today’s inflation, lifetime earnings for accounting majors averaged $3.98 million, with the top 25% expected to earn $4.9 million and the bottom 25% expected to earn $3.22 million. History, and this is typical of the humanities, averages as low as $3.37 million, while the top 25% are expected to make her $4.22 million. Sure, elite accounting majors are better than elite history majors, but elite history majors are better than your average accountant.
There are people who can give their best in a topic or a job that they are not passionate about. But that’s not typical, as my decades of experience as an educator show. I was primarily an “A” student in history. (I’m still bitter about the one professor who gave me a B+ in European history. I showed him by becoming a historian of Europe.) I liked it, so well done I read, worked hard on my homework, and left class to think about what we were learning.
My grades in math, for example, were somewhat lower because math was not only difficult, but I didn’t want to do it. I skipped assignments, rushed through, and got bored in class, but I didn’t care. If I was trying to be an accountant, I would have stayed in the bottom 25th percentile and been a bad person.
i have long Claimed to make college free
, or at least a much cheaper method, is the easiest way to give undergraduates the confidence to study what they want to study. Debt relief is a good start, but it won’t help tomorrow’s students.
Cheaper education may allow us to focus on all benefits other than vocational training. Higher education at its best prepares young people to become citizens of the world and lifelong learners ready to adapt to the complex challenges of the future.And, like many of us, especially when faced with the huge mental health challenges that students face today, they not ok
As a result of the last few years, prioritizing happiness may lead to better college lives.
But I’m also a realist. Even if college gets cheaper, jobs still matter. Salaries still matter. People go to college to be successful. The data may discourage people like me, but with our enrollment and key numbers declining, the big part of the reality is encouraging: succeed with our program
It could work out professionally.
So if you chose the job major you thought you would get a job out of college and you love STEM or business courses, great. But if you’re struggling, especially if it’s a path you chose because your parents wanted you to be practical, take another look. Try it. I read because I wanted to read it, not because someone said it was necessary. Follow your interests, once you reach that 75th percentile, the rest will hopefully follow.